Driving in our diesel car,
It doesn’t matter just how far.
We don’t think, so we don’t see,
What harm there could be.
Just another fun day out,
Sheep and cows, kids all shout.
Kids enjoying their day,
Laughing, screaming, in general play.
Over one million other cars
Left town that day for shops and bazaars;
Bought goods from a foreign land,
No one stopped to understand
The carbon footprint of that brand.
They just moaned about parking spaces,
Didn’t look to find others faces.
Engine idles while checking the bar for room.
A steady build-up of carbon fumes.
The diesel vehicle long promoted as green and a safe economic family car has become the nightmare of health and environmental experts. It was paraded as a cheaper option because of fuel consumption and therefore economic but also less damaging to the environment. A win – win or so we were told. To boost the car industry governments gave tax incentives and other inducements to bolster sales. Now the tune has changed and we are forced to pay to get rid of the bloody things.
In June 2012, The International Agency for Research on Cancer classified diesel exhaust as Group 1 which means it’s carcinogenic. The World Health Organisation (WHO) followed suit. Diesel houses “four (4) dangerous carcinogens”. What a turn around, from the best thing since sliced bread to something we all should dread. Once again we have been ‘had’ – ‘taken’ for a proverbial ride. www.second-opinions.co.uk/diesel-lung-cancer/
Paris is to start a ban on all diesel vehicles: trucks and buses built before September 2001 will be banned from July 2015. Cars manufactured before 1997 will be scrapped from 2016.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris wants all diesel vehicles off the road by 2020. A big ask, but how will people find the money to buy a new car. Well, the government will be offering €10,000 towards a new electric car if you get rid of the old diesel. www.europe.autonews.com/article/20150210 Businesses will be offered 50% bribe and 50% low interest loan to replace their diesel vans etc. France24 news
My question would be—why are the car industry not paying, they made all the promises and all the profit in the first place.
- Why did they promote these cars in the first instance?
Our government spokesperson will explain:
To safeguard the car industry and thereby the jobs and thereby the income of the workers and thereby the family and thereby the community and thereby all the peripheral jobs associated with the industry.
- No mention of the big boys, of profit, of a lifestyle of mansions, of private education, of flash cars, the odd yacht, of a bucket load of bling.
No. Everything was done for your benefit—-you the worker, were their priority. Who has a handkerchief?
All joking aside this is a very serious issue with an estimated 42,000 deaths a year through pollution in Paris and probably more. Such is the smog in the city and the danger it poses action is being taken. It is understood that 80% of vehicles in Paris are diesel which brings a clear understanding as to the haste. France24news.But why has it not been tackled before? London started in 2008.
The London Low Emission Zone (LEZ) came into effect in 2008 across the Greater London area. The plan is to reduce emissions from diesel vehicles. The Euro standard has been upgraded in 2012 and 2013. The costs of not meeting the LEZ are high at £100 per day for a large van and £200 for Lorries, coaches and buses. Charges for diesel cars will follow soon.
An interesting point arose in the 2013 discussion as the mayor decided that only buses would have to meet the new LEZ emissions for oxides of nitrogen (NOx), coaches and lorries get to skip this one and save around £350 million. Call me suspicious but I think the big boys have had a word in the Mayor’s little ear as the city stands to lose a lot of money. What about people’s health?
So why the urgency?
I have already mentioned the deaths in Paris but London too has a high number at 29,000 per year “…dying prematurely from air pollution”. www.theguardian.com/environment/2014/
- Should diesel vehicles be banned now?
- Should we force industry to pay a serious levy?
- Why do we have to wait until industry builds new engines?
- Why are we putting profits before people?
The problem emerges with the soot that comes out of the exhaust – you can see it as cars etc. pull away from traffic lights – the soot contains ‘particulates’; “Particulates are the deadliest form of air pollution as they get into the lungs”. It is estimated that this contributed to 370,000 premature deaths in the EU in 2005 and a possible 3.2 million globally. www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Particulates/ See also www.unee.org/index.php?id=31228/
It gets worse as a WHO study in 2011, “…concluded that traffic exhaust is the single most serious preventable cause of heart attack in the general public”. (Wikipedia) This is scary stuff especially with the key word being ‘preventable’. When was the last time—–or the first time you saw a poster or a TV advert warning you of the dangers? Thousands are dying every year and they don’t think it’s important enough to keep us informed. Perhaps the real reason is the cost of doing something about it; they may have to charge the industries a green tax for causing the pollution and that would not go down well with the big boys. How are we expected to be rational consumers when we are lied to?
This raises another contentious issue that being why industry has not picked up the tab e.g. the oil business for diesel and the engine manufacturer and the marketing companies. The charge in London is being paid by the vehicle owner who inadvertently bought the car etc. on what appeared sound advice. Now the poor sod is being forced to pay for the privilege of driving the ‘die from’ car.
And yet another point arises from the income the LEZ is bringing into London. What is happening with the money raised? Has there been any reduction in the number of vehicles driving through London? Pollution is every bit as high according to the most recent coverage in the press. So! It is alright that thousands are dying, unknown numbers have lung and heart disease; that asthma affects millions, it’s ok because we are charging the drivers? What is the money being spent on!
The recent smog alert in England sparked off health warning for asthma sufferers and the elderly. Kay Boycott of Asthma UK said that “two-thirds of asthma sufferers find that pollution makes their asthma worse”. The pollution can easily “trigger an attack”. www.france24.com/en/20150319-britain-smog-alert/
A further warning was highlighted by the Daily Mail 2015/03/20 that the pollution “…could cause fatal asthma attacks or heart problems”. It warned that toxins in London reached ten (10) the highest number. The newspaper quoted Dr Penny Woods of the British Lung Foundation, who warned those with respiratory problems to “…stay away from main roads”. If this was a war zone there would be widespread panic at the number of deaths and complications caused by the smog.
Incredulous! There is no doubt that diesel cars are still being sold to unsuspecting drivers. The sales pitch is exactly the same as ten (10) years ago. I think a law should be passed immediately allowing drivers to sue if they have purchased a diesel vehicle in the last ten (10) years. After all, the powers that be, have known about the pollution problem all that time. How long has this been going on? Let’s stop the sale of diesel vehicles!
Paris. The smog is so dense the mayor has ordered immediate action. Anne Hidalgo has got the go-ahead from the government to make public transport free over the weekend 20th / 23rd of March. A partial driving ban has also been introduced whereby odd number plates are allowed and then a swap over will occur. Emergency action is being taken because ‘particulates’ could go well over the maximum. Particulates can, “…penetrate deep into the lungs and the bloodstream and can cause cancer”. www.france24.com/en/20150321/
A professor at Columbia University, Patrick Kenney suggests that danger comes in two sizes, PM10 from the smoke and dirt and PM2.5 (particulate microns) which contains toxic organic compounds. The latter is the worse. Kenney says Paris is bad because of the number of diesel cars. Modern diesel cars are better, “But the filters in even the latest models can’t get rid of the most dangerous fine particles”. Anne Hidalgo. There are 200 cities in the EU with low emission zones. What does that suggest to you? www.france24.com/en/
Based on the figures the problem is massive; deaths are extraordinary high and general health issues must cost £€ millions yet it is under rated by the media and by our politicians. I need to find a word much more forceful than ‘scandal’. It would seem that there is a conspiracy of silence, and the people are being used as guinea pigs or just disregarded. The overall costs must be in the billions.
Profit before people once again!
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